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  • January 27th

    January 27, 1909: Cy Young's Catcher is "Sorry" Brown. Lou Criger sends a telegram to Boston fans today, expressing his regrets on being traded by the Beaneaters to the St. Louis Browns over the winter. The man who spurned a fix of the first World Series (1903) - and the same man who caught Cy Young on three different clubs will hit only .170 in 212 AB's for the the 1909 Browns. Never reknowned for his stick work, the great signal-calling defensive catcher will finish his career (1896-1912) with a lifetime big league BA of .221.

    Criger Came to Browns from Boston
    On December 12, 1908 in exchange
    For Catcher Tubby Spencer.

    Small and agile, light-hitting Lou Criger lasted 16 years in the majors because of his ability as a catcher. Beginning in 1896, he was the batterymate of Cy Young in Cleveland and St. Louis of the National League, and Boston in the American League. Criger caught most of Young's 511 victories; the two played together until Criger's December 1908 trade to the Browns. During the first World Series, played in 1903 between the Boston Pilgrims (later the Red Sox) and Pirates, gamblers offered Criger a bribe to throw the games. Criger spurned it, and caught every inning of the eight games in the Boston victory. (JK) -

    Births on January 27

    Milt Gaston: My Best Personal Story about a former St. Louis Brown.

    Nathaniel Milton "Milt" Gaston is born on January 27, 1896 in Ridgefield Park, New Jersey. Gaston will post a pitching record of 38 wins against 49 losses for the 1925-1927 Browns. The BR/TR hurler will register a career (1924-1934) big league record of 97 wins, 164 losses, and an ERA of 4.55 Milt will live to the ripe old age of 100 years before he passes away three months later on April 26, 1996 in Hyanis. Massachusetts. - Milt Gaston will always be special Brown to me because of a personal contact I had with him around the time of 100th birthday. I wrote to Gaston, asking him to sign a ball for me. A long time passed and I heard nothing. Then, when I read the news of his death in April 1996, I simply assumed that my request had been out of line. I sort of felt guilty that I had even placed the request to him in what turned out to be the final days of his life. Man, was I in for the surprise of my life. - A few days following the death of Milt Gaston, I got a small package in the mail. It was the baseball I had sent to Milt, simply mailed back to me in the the little cardboard box that balls come in - and wrapped in brown paper and secured with wads of tape. When I opened the box, there was the ball - with "Milt Gaston" scrolled in a shaky, but large and legible handwriting. To my added surprise, the box also contained a signed 5x7 photo of Milt Gaston as a Brown that he had folded twice and jammed into the box with the ball. I will be forever grateful to Milt Gaston for signing and sending those two items to me as one of his last acts upon this earth. For as long as I'm around, these Brownie artifacts will remain in placement around me in my study as reminders of the old Brownie righthander. - A very, very special Brownie Cap Tip to you, Milt Gaston, and may God bless your wonderful old-school soul! - You came through for this old fan at the very end of everything else you had done with your 100 years on this planet. It warms my heart to think that I may possess (for now) the last autograph you ever signed. Thanks for taking the time and effort - for those are the two things that all caring requires.

    Deaths on January 27

    Emil Frisk
    Birth Name: John Emil Frisk Bats : Left
    Born On: 10-15-1874 Throws : Right
    Born In: Kalkaska, Michigan Height : 6-01
    Died On: 01-27-1922 Weight : 190
    Died In: Seattle, Washington First Game: 09-02-1899
    College: None Attended Last Game: 04-23-1907
    Nickname: The Silent Norseman Draft: Not Applicable

    Emil Frisk was 8-10 with an ERA of 4.15 as a pitcher for the 1899 Reds and 1901 Tigers. Frisk then switched to oufield, returning to play 2 seasons for 1905 and 1907 Browns. - Frisk batted .267 with no homers over his 4=season, try-anything career. - Emil Frisk was 47 when he died in 1922.

    Mervyn David John "Merv" Shea dies on January 27, 1953 in Sacramento, CA at the age of 52. The BR/TR catcher batted .262 in 94 games for the 1933 Browns. Shea and cash (that favorite, but always scarce Browns commodity) came to St. Louis from the Red Sox on May 9, 1933 in exchange for catcher Rick Ferrell and pitcher Lloyd Brown. 1933 was it for Shea as a Brown, but his long career (1927-1944) with 7 big league clubs saw him finish with a .220 BA. Merv Shea was born on September 9, 1900 in San Francisco.

    Joseph Franklin "Joe" Vosmik

    Joe Vosmik: Too Good To Stay a Brown.

    Joe Vosmik passes away on January 27, 1962 in Cleveland, Ohio at the age of 51. The BR/TR outfielder posted an outstanding career BA of .307 over the course of his 1930-1944 big league time. In his lone year as a member of the 1937 Browns, Vosmik banged out 193 hits and batted .325. Of course, that performance meant that he was too good to keep any longer than a single season. On December 2, 1937, the Browns traded Vosmik to the Boston Red Sox for pitcher Bobo Newsom, outfielder Buster Mills, and shortstop Red Kress. - Vosmik was born on April 14, 1910 in Cleveland, Ohio.

    Albert Caspar "Al" Schweitzer passes away on January 27, 1969 in Newark, Ohio at the age of 86. Al batted .238 in 4 seasons as righthanded hitting outfielder for the 1908-1911 Browns. His 208 hits in 874 times at bat included 3 home runs. If I have to guess, and that's what I'm doing in this case, I'm betting that those 3 homers were inside-the-art jobs. Schweitzer's years with the Browns were his entire big league career. He picked up the nickname "Cheese" somewhere. Since Schweitzer doesn't hail from Wisconsin, we assume that the endearing identity may have derived from his love of that wonderful dairy food, his lack of class, the aroma of his play, the mousiness of his personality, or the holes in his glove. - Whatever. - Al was born on December 23, 1882 in Cleveland, Ohio.

    Richard Dale "Dale" Long dies on January 27, 1991 in Palm Coast, Florida, just a couple of weeks shy of his 65th birthday. The great BL/TL 1st base phenom (who never quite delivered great promise long term) played a short time for the 1951 Browns, hitting .238 in 105 AB's. For his career, 1951 to 1963, Dale Long crunched 132 homers and batted a respectable .267. - Long was born on February 6, 1926 in Springfield, Missouri.

    Dale Long's Best Years Were As a Pirate and Cub.

    Today's Reference Link ...
    Last edited by Bill_McCurdy; 10-15-2005, 05:06 AM.
    "Our fans never booed us. - They wouldn't dare. - We outnumbered 'em." ... Browns Pitcher Ned Garver.


    • January 28th

      January 28, 1901: No Browns Found in Original American League.

      1st AL President Ban Johnson:
      He had All The Ego & Hunger for
      Power That This Photo Suggests.

      The newly forming American League undergoes some drastic, but final changes as it prepares to begin its innaugural season in 1901. Three of the original franchises planned for Indianapolis, Minneapolis, and Buffallo are dropped and three new franchises in Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Boston are added. The net change leaves the American League starting as an eight-club circuit. The AL will remain an eight-club league from 1901 through 1960, with expansion by two new franchises to ten teams finally occurring in 1961.

      Original 1901 American League
      1. Baltimore Orioles *
      2. Boston Somersets
      3. Chicago White Stockings
      4. Cleveland Blues
      5. Detroit Tigers
      6. Milwaukee Brewers *
      7. Philadelphia Athletics
      8. Washington Nationals

      * 1902: In only the second year of the AL, the Orioles will move and become the New York Highlanders (later renamed Yankees); the Brewers will relocate and become the St. Louis Browns. Once these two franchise shifts take place, the AL configuration will remain unchanged from those eight 1902 city bases until (sigh!) the Browns move and become the Baltimore Orioles in 1954.

      AL President Ban Johnson grabs major administrative power in the newly declared "major" league: (1.) Johnson will serve as trustee for all ballpark leases and majority stockholdings, and (2.) he will retain the authority to buy out refractory franchises.

      The player limit for each AL club also is set at 14 players per team, and the season schedule in 1901 will be 140 games. AL contracts will give the Players Protective Association one major condition it wanted. Each AL club's reserve clause right to players for their services will be limited to five years. That tiny hole in a club's power to totally control a player for the life of his career will be patched when the American League makes peace with the established National League.

      Births On January 28

      Lynford Hobart "Lyn" Lary is born on January 28, 1906 in Armona, California. The BR/TR shortstop/infielder batted .269 over the course of a career that spanned from 1929 to 1940. Lary first came to the Browns early in the 1935 season and ended up hitting .288 for the club in 93 games. In his only fill season as a Brown, Lary batted .289 in 1936 before moving on to Cleveland in 1937. Lyn Lary returned to the Browns for 27 games and a brutal .056 BA in only 54 AB's. How does a player know when to quit? - Sometimes hitting .056 will do it. - The man who acquired the nickname "Broadway" during his early years with the Yankees will pass away at the age of almost 67 on January 9, 1973 in Downey, California. ("Broadway Lyn?" - If they gave that nickname to every young guy with money who started his career in New York and heard the siren of the nightlife there, it would've already been used up by the time that "Broadway Joe" Namath finally hit town.)

      Bob Muncrief Was a Browns Winner!

      Robert Cleveland "Bob" Muncrief is born on January 28, 1916 in Madill, Oklahoma. The BR/TR pitcher will become a four-time 13 game winner for the Browns (1937-1947) and a major reason for their successful pursuit of that one and only AL pennant in 1944. Muncrief will win 13, lose 8, and post a 3.08 ERA in 1944. He will go 0-1 with a 1.35 ERA in 6.2 innings of work in the 1944 World Series - and he will come back in 1945 to post his best season record (13-4. 2.72 ERA). For his total career (1937-1951), Muncrief will finish with an overall record of 80 wins, 82 losses, and an ERA of 3.80. Muncrief will get to taste victory as a member of 1948 champion Cleveland Indians. He will post a 5-4. 3.98 ERA season record with the 1948 Indians and also will work a couple of scoreless innings in the '48 World Series. - Muncrief's a good one. - He will pass away only a week short of his 80th birthday on February 6, 1996 in Duncanville, Texas. - Thank you, Bob Muncrief, for helping to bring our Browns their only pennant back in 1944. Sixty years have passed, but we still remember.

      Hank Arft May Have Been
      The Only Player in History
      To Sign a Baseball While
      Sitting on a Toilet!

      Henry Irven "Hank" Arft is born on January 28, 1922 Manchester, Missouri. The BL/TL 1st baseman will hit .252 with 13 career HRs in an All-Browns tenure in the big leagues (1948-1952). Arft will acquire the nickname "Bow Wow" during his playing days. With a name like "Arft," the origins of that little playful identifier hardly need explaining. Sadly, Hank Arft will lose his bout with cancer and pass away at age 80 in St. Louis on December 14, 2002. On this one, I must add "sadly" because I had been privileged to have met the man through the Browns Fan Club and had come to like him as one of nicest gentlemen from the old school that I ever met. I didn't really know him well, but I appreciated his kindness to me and every other old Browns fan who came to these annual reunions for the purpose of meeting and spending time with the guys who were our Browns. - I got Hank Arft to sign a ball for me in the late 1990's under one of the most unusual circumstances I've ever known. We were at a Browns Reunion cocktail reception in St. Louis and the room for the party was very crowded when I asked Hank to sign for me. Hank wanted to sit down so that he could sign the ball legibly, but all chairs were taken. The next thing I knew, Hank had opened the door to a small closet bathroom adjacent to the reception room and had taken a seat on the toilet. (He remained dressed and the toilet lid was down, of course.) In very relaxed fashion, Arft proceeded to sign the ball while sitting on the commode. Then he handed it back to me with a "there you are" smile. He almost seemed relieved to have done such a good job of signing his name. - Only in Brownsville!

      Thanks, Hank!

      Deaths on January 28

      William J. "Barry" McCormick dies on January 28, 1956 in Cincinnati, Ohio at the age of 81 years, 11 months. There are two mysteries about McCormick: Why was he called "Barry?" And was he a right or left handed batter? For some reason of poor record-keeping, no one bothered to make these issues clear bout the starting 3rd baseman for the first 1902 Browns club. The safe guess is that McCormick batted right, but you never know. You learn in baseball research to never assume anything. We do know that he threw righthanded. - McCormick hit .238 in the big league(s) from 1895 to 1904. Barry was a Brown for all of 1902 and half of 1903. He was moved to the Senators in 1903 and finished his career with Washington in 1904. Barry McCormick was born on December 25, 1874 in Maysville, Kentucky.

      Hubert Shelby "Hub" Pruett dies on January 28, 1982 in Ladue, Missouri at the age of 81. The BL/TL pitcher was 14-18 with the 1922-1924 Browns. Over his career (1922-1932), the University of Missouri graduate who went on from baseball to become a doctor posted a record of 29 wins, 48 losses, and an ERA of 4.63. Pruett is best remembered for his ability to retire Babe Ruth. In spite of his mediocre showing against the rest of the league, Ruth found Pruett to be almost unhittable. Pruett struck out Ruth 10 times in their first 13 times to face each other in 1922 - and, in the 30 times he faced Ruther over his career, Pruett struck him out 15 times. - Go figure. - Pruett's lesser known nickname was "Shucks." -You might guess that it came from something Babe Ruth said aloud after again fanning at the hands of Pruett, but I doubt it. Left to Ruth under those circumstances, Pruett's nickname might more probably begin with one of the less printable "S" words. - Hub Pruett was born on September 1, 1900 in Malden, Missouri.

      Bobby Young
      (and the same photo
      you saw 3 days ago.)

      Robert George "Bobby" Young dies on January 28, 1985 in Baltimore, Maryland at the age of 60. The BL/TR 2nd baseman held down that position full-time for the last three Browns clubs (1951-1953), hitting in the range of his career BA of .249 for the whole big league stretch he played from 1948 to 1958. Young was one of the last Browns in 1953 and also one of the first Baltimore Orioles because of the 1954 franchise move. - Bobby Young was born on January 22, 1925 in Granite, Maryland.

      Vern Kennedy Won 12
      And Lost 17 for the
      1940 St. Louis Browns.

      Lloyd Vernon "Vern" Kennedy
      passes away on January 28, 1993 in Mendon, Missouri. The BL/TR pitcher finished his career (1934-1945) with a record of 104 wins, 132 losses, and an ERA of 4.67. As a Brown (1939-1941) Kennedy registered 23 wins and 38 losses. - Vern Kennedy was born on March 20, 1907 in Kansas City, Missouri.

      Today's Reference Links ...
      Last edited by Bill_McCurdy; 02-06-2005, 08:40 AM.
      "Our fans never booed us. - They wouldn't dare. - We outnumbered 'em." ... Browns Pitcher Ned Garver.


      • January 29th

        Red Barber did the play-by-play on MLB's
        1st televised baseball game in 1939. 12
        years later, The Big Eye was poising
        to buy the future of the baseball culture.

        January 29, 1951: 1st Tremors of Quake & Tomorrow's Salary Tsunami. If only they had envisioned in 1951 what was coming down the timeline. In signing a six-year All-Star Game pact, MLB sells the TV and Radio rights for six million dollars. Several owners criticize lame duck Commissioner Happy Chandler for tying them into a six-year deal at that price. The unhappy ones express the opinion that it won't be more than two years before the broadcast rights to the Summer Classic will be worth much more than a mere million dollars a year. - Hmmm!! - Too bad they didn't have a crystal ball back then. It could've told them how really big the broadcast money was going to be by the 1990's. Of course, that same crystal ball would've shown the owners the bad news too. They would have been forced also to see the coming of free agency and it's marriage to television money as the tandem force that drives baseball club owners into shelling out the most astronomical salaries ever paid to any single group of "workers" on this planet.

        Big television money will come too late to help the Browns, but television is a double-edged sword. It may make fans want to go see a good team play in person, but TV will also help fans stay away from going to the ballpark when the product on the field brings the pictures of stinking play into people's homes via electronic visual smellavision.

        January 29, 1930: Former Browns Star Nearing End of Road.

        1930: Red Sox Waive
        Ken Williams to Yanks.

        Former Browns star and 1922 American League home run champion Ken Williams, a guy with a lifetime .319 BA, is moved today by the Red Sox to the Yankees for the waiver price. Williams is done. The Yankees will release him before the 1930 season begins. The major league career of Ken Williams will have come to an end.

        Births on January 29

        Olen Edward "Ollie" Voigt is born on January 29, 1900 in Wheaton, Illinois. The BL/TR hurler will play ball at the University of Illinois and then go on to an 8-game, 16.1 innings career with the 1924 St. Louis Browns. Ollie will finish his "15 minutes of fame" with a winning percentage that even Cy Young couldn't master. Voight's WP is right at 1.000 with 1 win, 0 losses, and a 5.51 ERA. Ollie Voigt will pass from this earth in Scottsdale, Arizona on April 7, 1970 at the age of 70. - BCT/GB, Ollie Voigt!

        Hank Edwards: In his 1950
        Bowman card as a ChiCub.

        Henry Albert "Hank" Edwards is born on January 29, 1919 in Elmwood Place, Ohio. The BL/TL outfielder will post a career big league BA of .280 and 51 HR's from 1941 to 1953. Edwards finishes his career as a bench player for the last '53 Browns club, hitting .198 with 0 homers in 106 times at bat. Sometimes the handwriting on the wall comes in bold black ink. Hank Edwards is done after 1953. - He will die on June 22, 1988 in Santa Ana, California at the age of 69.

        Deaths on January 29

        Win Ballou
        Birth Name: Noble Winfield Ballou
        Nickname: Old Pard
        Born On: 11-30-1897
        Born In: Mount Morgan, Kentucky
        Zodiac: Sagittarius
        Died On: 01-29-1963
        Died In: San Francisco, California
        Cemetery: Woodlawn Memorial Park, Daly City, California
        College: Eastern Kentucky University
        Bats: Right
        Throws: Left
        Height: 5-10½
        Weight: 170
        First Game: 08-24-1925 (Age 27)
        Last Game: 09-15-1929
        Draft: Not Applicable

        Pitcher Win Ballou had a record of 16 wins and 16 losses for the 1926-1927 Browns, For his total 4-season MLB career (1925-1927, 1929), Ballou had a record of 19 wins, 20 losses, and an ERA of 5.11. - Win Ballou was 65 when he died in 1963.

        Today's Reference Links ...
        Last edited by Bill_McCurdy; 11-30-2005, 04:09 PM.
        "Our fans never booed us. - They wouldn't dare. - We outnumbered 'em." ... Browns Pitcher Ned Garver.


        • January 30th

          A January 30th Follow Up To The Earlier Joe Gedeon Post: The following is an addendum to my post of January 21st on Joe Gedeon, the St. Louis Brown who became the "9th Man Out" in the aftermath of the 1919 World Series Scandal. I've since read a great book about Arnold Rothstein, the alleged fixer. ...

          Arnold Rothstein: Was A.R. really
          the principal "banker" behind the
          1919 World Series Fix?

          For an even broader look at the gambling/gangster culture that maintained company with such early baseball notables as John McGraw, you may enjoy reading this fascinating biography of the dark shadowy figure who will always be implicated as the bankrolling "fixer" of the 1919 World Series. The book is entitled: Rothstein: The Life, Times, and Murder of the Criminal Genius Who Fixed The 1919 World Series (Carroll & Graf, New York, 2003) by David Pietrusza.

          Author Pietrusza's work plays around with our worst dreadnaught fears about the early integrity of the modern game - that 1919 debacle was not the first time a World Series outcome has been "fixed." It may simply have been the first time that MLB was unable to ignore the fact. Suspicions apparently existed about the 1914 "Miracle Braves" sweep of the heavily favored Athletics; the victory of the White Sox over the Giants in 1917 caused John McGraw to think something was fishy; and the win by the Red Sox over the Cubs in 1918 cast some doubts too. - Maybe it was just an epidemic of sore losing. If the Rothstein and Chase biographies are correct, however, there appears to be little doubt that some players "laying down" in games for the purpose of winning a bet during the regular seasons of the deadball era was a fairly typical suspicion - and one that usually was ignored by baseball.

          I find some interesting superficial parallels between MLB's treatment of the gambling issue 80-100 years ago and it's treatment of the steroid issue today:

          (1.) Gambling & Steroids Are Both Double Edge Swords for MLB. MLB didn't want the early 20th century public to distrust the integrity of the game, but they didn't mind the fact that attendance was boosted by open gambling in the stands. - Similarly, MLB doesn't want today's fans to think that steroids are causing home run records to fall, but they don't mind the fact that attendance is boosted by the allure of the power fireworks that steroids may be helping to generate.

          (2.) MLB Has Dealt With Both Problems - Only When They Had To. The Landis and ownership reaction to the Black Sox Scandal was about as convincing as the performance by Claude Rains as Inspector Renaud in "Casablanca" on the night he was forced to find a reason to shut down Rick's Cafe Americain. "I'm shocked to find that gambling is going on here!" Renaud says, as he immediately accepts his own winnings the next moment with a crisp "thank you very much."

          The Scary Part. Let's hope the similarities end there. Once MLB got past the 1919 purge, subsequent allegations about other gambling issues were either ignored, dismissed, or swept under the rug. MLB, and Judge Landis, wanted the public to believe that baseball had dealt with gambling, once and for all, with the White Sox purge. Landis seemed to think that subsequent guilty finds would weaken the image of baseball further - and give people the impression that baseball wasn't doing its job of policing the problem. He succeeded in covering it all up so well that baseball was hardly prepared for the Pete Rose issue that would land again at their feet a few decades down the road.

          Let's hope that MLB doesn't now hand us a steroid policy that really means they want us to believe that the problem is now "solved," once and for all. We fans really aren't as stupid as MLB sometimes thinks we are. :atthepc

          Births On January 30

          Doc Shanley
          Birth Name: Harry Root Shanley
          Nickname: Doc
          Born On: 01-30-1889
          Born In: Granbury, Texas
          Zodiac: Aquarius
          Died On: 12-13-1934
          Died In: St. Petersburg, Florida
          Cemetery: Royal Palm Cemetery, St. Petersburg, Florida
          College: Washington University in Saint Louis
          Bats: Right
          Throws: Right
          Height: 6-00
          Weight: 174
          First Game: 09-15-1912 (Age 0)
          Last Game: 09-24-1912
          Draft: Not Applicable

          Shortstop Doc Shanley was 0 for 8 in 5 games for the 1912 Browns. He drew 2 walks and managed to record 1 run scored and 1 run batted in. After that time, he was gone-for-good. - Doc Shanley was 45 when he died in 1934. - BCT/GB, Doc Shanley!

          Deaths on January 30

          Noble Winfield "Win" Ballou passes away at the age of 65 in San Francisco. "Old Pard." as he was sometimes called, was a rare BR/TL pitcher who scored a career big league record of 29 wins, 30 losses, and 5.11 ERA in 4 seasons (1925-1927, 1929). Ballou pitched the two middle years (1926-1927) for the Browns, achieving his best record for the '26 club by bagging 11 wins against 10 losses and ERA of 4.79. Ballou was born on November 30, 1897 in Mount Morgan, Kentucky. He pitched for Eastern Kentucky University before turning pro. - There's no source I found that could confirm the existence of a brother or sister named "Cat."

          Today's Reference Link ...

          Note: The internet Baseball Library lists Win Ballou's date of death as January 29. MacMillan's and other sources list it as January 30. Unless something materializes to prove otherwise, I'm going with January 30 as the date of death in this case.

          Have a nice Sunday, everybody! :atthepc
          Last edited by Bill_McCurdy; 12-13-2005, 02:50 AM.
          "Our fans never booed us. - They wouldn't dare. - We outnumbered 'em." ... Browns Pitcher Ned Garver.


          • January 31st

            January 31, 1953: Veeck Loses Bid for Night Game TV Money.

            New York, Cleveland, and Boston retaliate at Bill Veeck, forcing the Browns to play afternoon games (to avoid sharing tv revenues). Veeck takes his plan to the American League office to make them pay. The plan is rejected.
            - Baseball Library.Com

            Bill Veeck: His marketing genius
            was offset by his unwillingness
            to "play ball" in MLB politics.

            Veeck started off on this issue with two strikes against him: (1.) the other American League owners didn't like him; and (2.) several owners were willing to do anything in their power to keep Veeck from financial benefit because of their desire to drive him out of baseball. These owners envied and resented Veeck's unpolitical and "over the top" unconventional approach to marketing the game.

            Can anyone out there spell "K"?

            Births on January 31

            Timothy Green "Tim" Hendryx is born on January 31, 1891 in LeRoy, Illimois. The BR/TR journeyman outfielder will post a career BA of .276 in the 426 games he will play from 1911 to 1921. As a member of the 1918 Browns, Hendryx will record a .279 average with no homers in 219 times AB. He will pass away in Corpus Christi, Texas on August 14, 1957 at the age of 66.

            William McKinley "Pinky" Hargrave is born on January 31, 1896 in New Haven, Connecticut. The BB/TR catcher will hit .278 and have 39 homers in a big league career that spans from 1923 to 1933. As a member of the 1925-1926 Browns, Hargrave will hit .284 and .281 - and also bag 15 homers in 460 total AB's with the club in those two years. Pinky Hargrave will die iin Fort Wayne, Indiana on October 3, 1942 at the age of 46.

            Charlie Robertson

            Once was enough for immortality.

            Birth Name: Charles Culbertson Robertson Bats : Left
            Born On: 01-31-1896 Throws : Right
            Born In: Dexter, Texas Height : 6-00
            Died On: 08-23-1984 Weight : 175
            Died In: Fort Worth, Texas First Game: 05-13-1919
            College: Austin College Last Game: 06-18-1928
            Nickname: Racehorse Draft: Not Applicable

            Pitcher Charlie Robertson is best remembered (or only remembered) for the perfect game he pitched for the Chicago White Sox against Ty Cobb and the Detroit Tigers on April 30, 1922. The WHite Sox won at Detroit that day by a score of 8 to 0. - It was the last perfect game pitched in the big leagues until Don Larsen of the Yankees shut down the Brooklyn Dodgers, 2-0, at Yankee Stadium in the World Series on October 8, 1956. Others have happened since Larsen's, but not in a World Series. Here's a link to the box scores of all the perfect games in modern big league history ...


            Robertson's "perfecto" was also remarkable in the fact that it was only his 2nd start in the big leagues. - When these things are ready to happen, they do.

            Charlie Robertson wasn't much of a pitcher over the course of his 8-year big league career (1919, 1922-1928). He posted a record of 49 wins, 80 losses, and ERA of 4.44, but he was destined to be remembered for his one fine day in the sun. - As a member of the 1926 Browns, Robertson was 1-2 with an ERA of 8.36. It was Charlie's only time with the St. Louis AL club. - Charlie Robertson had a long time to remember and tell again the story of his one perfect day. He was 88 when he died in 1984.

            Melvin Leonard "Mel" Mazzera is born on January 31, 1914 in Stockton, California. Sometimes referred to as "Mike," the BL/TL outfielder will be mainly used as a right fielder. Mazzera will hit for a .268 big career BA, collecting only 10 HR's from 1935 to 1940. He will play a total of 507 games in the majors. Mazzera will make a cup-of-coffee appearance for the 1935 and 1937 Browns before sticking around for 86 games and a .279 BA in 1938. He will bat 300 for the 1939 Browns in only 33 games. Mazzera will also play 69 games for the 1940 Phillies and then be gone from the big leagues. Blessed wiith good genes and whatever else figures into the equation, Mel Mazzera remains alive today as one of the oldest living former Browns.

            4th Oldest Brown. Mel Mazzera is the 4th oldest living former Brown. Here are our most ancient Brownie survivors, by age and birthdate order:

            1. Rollie Stiles, age 98 years, 2 months: (11-17-1906)
            2. Eldon Auker, age 94 years, 4 months: (9-21-1910)
            3. Don Gutteridge, age 92 years, 7 months: (6-19-1912)
            4. Mel Mazzera, age 91 years, 0 months: (1-31-1914)

            Happy 91st Birthday, Mel Mazzera!

            Sidney Herbert "Sid" Peterson is born on January 31, 1918 in Havelock, North Dakota. The BR/TR pitcher is another oe of our short-termers. Peterson gets into 3 relief pitching games for the 1943 Browns, but that will prove long enough for him to compile a 2 win, 0 loss, 2.70 ERA record that will stand in the books for all-time as his big league day in the sun. Peterson will pass away on August 29, 2001 in Wichita Falls, Texas at the age of 83. H will take with him a sweet memory of his short major league career as a war-time member of the St. Louis Browns. - BCT/GB, Sid Peterson!

            Deaths on January 31

            Peter J. "Pete" O'Brien passes away on January 31, 1917 in Jersey City, New Jersey at the age of 39. The BL/TR utility infielder had a 3-year, limited action MLB career (1901, 1906-1907) and hit .223 with 3 HR's. In his only full season, O'Brien hit .233 with 2 of those homers in 151 games for the 1906 Browns. The rest of his time was spent with Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Washington. After 1907, Pete was out of the big leagues for good. - Pete O'Brien was born on June 17, 1877 in Binghamton, New York.

            Albert Leonard "Beany" Jacobson passes away on January 31, 1933 in Decatur, Illinois at the age of 51. The BL/TL pitcher posted a 4-year big league career (1904-1907) mark of 23 wins, 46 losses, and a 3.19 ERA. Beany was 10 and 15 with the 1906-1907 Browns. The origins of his "Beany" nickname are not immediately available, but the 16 batters he hit in his 612.1 total career innings pitched hardly seems worthy of that title. Maybe he was simply proficient at chin-whiskering. Perhaps he was fond of wearing one of those silly looking skull caps. - Whatever. - "Beany" Jacobson was born on June 5, 1881 in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

            John Gus "Red" Fisher dies on January 31, 1940 in Louisville, Kentucky at the age of 52. Fisher went 9 for 72 (.125) with 0 HR's as a BL/TR outfielder for the 1910 Browns and that was it for his big league career. Red was born on June 22, 1887 in Pittsburgh, PA. - BCT/GB, Red Fisher!

            Today's Reference Links ...

            Last edited by Bill_McCurdy; 08-23-2005, 09:16 AM.
            "Our fans never booed us. - They wouldn't dare. - We outnumbered 'em." ... Browns Pitcher Ned Garver.


            • February 1st

              On This Date in History!

              February 1, 1926: Browns-Senators Trade. The Browns trade pitcher Joe Bush and outfielder Jack Tobin to Washington today for pitchers Tom Zachary and Win Ballou. - Ballou will go 11-10, 4.79 with the 1926 Browns and 5-6, 4.78 with the 1927 club. Ballou will be out of the big leagues in 1928, but will come back for one final year with Brooklyn to post a 2-3, 6.71 mark with the 1929 Dodgers. - Tom Zachary will go 14-15, 3.60 with the 1926 Browns. After starting the 1927 season with the Browns at 4 and 6, Zachary will be traded back to the Senators on July 7, 1927 in exchange for pitcher General Crowder. - (Some may think that Tom Zachary had to return to the Senators in 1927 to fulfill his September destiny as the pitcher who serves up Babe Ruth's 60th home run of that record-breaking season.)

              Births on February 1

              Carl Nettles "Carl" Reynolds is born on February 1, 1903 in LaRue, Texas. Carl will play college ball at Southwestern University and then embark upon a long and succesful run as a BR/TR big league outfielder. From 1927 to 1939, Reynolds will hit .302 with a career best year 359 BA, 22 HR's, and 102 RBIs for the 1930 White Sox. In his only year in St. Louis, Reynolds will hit .286 with only 8 homers and 49 RBI for the 1933 Browns. - Carl Reynolds will pass away on May 29, 1978 in Houston, Texas at the age of 75.

              David Pledger "Dave" Madison is born on February 1, 1921 in Brooksville, Mississippi. The BR/TR pitcher from LSU will play parts of 3 seasons in the big leagues (1950, 1952-53) and will finish with a career record of 8-7, 5.70. In his only time as a Brown, Madison goes 4-3, 4.38 for the 1952 Browns before being dealt to the Tigers during the season. Dave Madison will die on December 8, 1985 in Macon, Mississippi at the age of 64.

              Deaths on February 1

              Edward Russell "Tubby" Spencer dies in San Francisco on February 1, 1945 at the age of 61. In a 9-year back-up role at catcher, Spencer starts with 4 years of service as a Brown (1905-1908). 1907 is Tubby's best Browns season when he hits .265 in 230 AB's. Overall (1905-1918), the portly catcher will play for 4 big league clubs and finish with a career BA of .225. Spencer was born on January 26, 1884 in Oil City, Pennsylvania.

              Milton John "Milt" Byrnes dies on February 1, 1979 in St. Louis at the age of 63. The BL/TL outfielder played 3 seasons in the big leagues (1943-1945), batting a career-best .295 for the 1944 American League championship club. He finished his all-Browns MLB career with a .274 BA, 16 HRs, and 154 RBIs. Byrnes was a native St. Louisan. He was born on November 15, 1916. For whatever reason, (perhaps, it had something to do with his running style, his poor attendance at team practices, or his passion for peanut butter) Milt's nickname was "Skippy"

              Samuel "Sam" Harshany passes away on February 1, 2001 in San Antonio, Texas at the age of 90. The BR/TR catcher enjoyed a brief 4-year, All Browns MLB career (1937-1940) as a limited action player. He hit .238 with 0 homers (43 for 181) in 61 games during his fleeting moment in the soft limelight of Browns baseball. Although short, Sam Harshany never forgot his days as a Brown. He even found a way to make it to one of the annual Brownie Reunion Banquets in about 1997. He described his time with the Browns to me as the happiest period of his long life. - Sam Harshany was born on April 24, 1910 in Madison, Illinois.

              BCT/GB and God rest your happy soul, Sam Harshany! :atthepc

              Today's Reference Links ...

              Last edited by Bill_McCurdy; 04-24-2005, 04:30 AM.
              "Our fans never booed us. - They wouldn't dare. - We outnumbered 'em." ... Browns Pitcher Ned Garver.


              • February 2nd

                On This Date in History!

                February 2, 1949: DeWitts Buy Control of Browns.

                "We're not the DeWitt Brothers.
                Had we bought the Browns, we
                would've hoped to cast a longer
                shadow across the American League
                on this happy Groundhog's Day 1949."

                Brothers Bill DeWitt and Charlie DeWitt gain control of the St. Louis Browns by acquiring 57% of the franchise stock from Dick Muckerman for $1,000,000. The DeWitt family has a storied history in MLB as owners and administrators. It continues to this day with Bill DeWitt, Jr., the current prinicipal owner of the St. Louis Cardinals.

                Births on February 2

                William Henry "Big Bill" Abstein is born on February 2, 1883 in St. Louis. The BR/TR 1st baseman is only 6'0" and 185 lbs., but his relative height to the average shorter players of his day gains him the nickname of "Big Bill." Of course, he may have gotten that descriptor for having a big nose. Having never seen his picture, it's hard for me to say. - At any rate, the shadow of this Groundhog Day's baby will not be very long. Abstein will play in only 3 big league seasons (Pirates: 1906, 1909 and Browns: 1910). In 23 games for the 1910 Browns, Big Bill will hit .143. He will bat .242 with 1 HR over the whole course of his 619 AB MLB career. - Bill Abstein will pass away in St. Louis on April 8, 1940 at the age of 57. - BCT/GB, Big Bill Abstein!

                Charles Raymond "Ray" Demmitt is born on February 2, 1884 in Illiopolis, Illinois. (What a great "rolls-right-off-the-tongue" sounding name for a hometown. The founding fathers of "Illiopolis" obviously had a real flair for marketing.) Demmitt will get his start playing college baseball for the University of Illinois. In his 7-year career as a BL/TR big league outfielder (1909-1919), Demmitt will bat .257 with 8 dead ball era homers. Demmitt will play two stints for the Browns (1910, 1917-1919), and will enjoy his best full major league season by hitting .281 for the 1918 St. Louis AL club. - Ray Demmitt will die on Ferbruary 19, 1956 in Glen Ellyn, Illinois at the age of 72.

                Otis Louis "Otto" Miller is born on February 2, 1901 in Belleville, Illinois. The BR/TR infielder will break into the big leagues as a shortstop and hit .224 in 76 AB's for the 1927 Browns. It will be Miller's only season as a Brown, but he will go on to also play 3 seasons for the Red Sox (1930-1932) and end up with a career major league BA of .274 withour ever hitting a single HR. Otto Miller will leave us for good on July 26, 1959 in Belleville, Illinois. He will be 58 years old at the time of his death.

                Deaths on February 2

                Death books a room at the Brownsville Holiday Inn on Groundhog's Day.

                Today's reference links ...

                Last edited by Bill_McCurdy; 02-22-2005, 07:29 PM.
                "Our fans never booed us. - They wouldn't dare. - We outnumbered 'em." ... Browns Pitcher Ned Garver.


                • February 3rd

                  On This Date in History!

                  February 3, 1934: Radio Takes Blame for Poor Attendance.

                  "Ladies and Gentlemen, we interrupt this KMOX radio broadcast to bring you the following special announcement. - There will be no radio broadcasting of St. Louis Browns games in 1934. Therefore, if you still want a taste of of poorly played baseball, you will have to go directly in person to Sportsman's Park and buy a ticket to a Browns game. - We now return you to your regularly scheduled program of musical entertainment with Leo Reisman and his orchestra." :radio

                  The St. Louis Browns and Cardinals both have decided to discontinue play-by-play radio broadcasts from Sportsman's Park in 1934. Games had been aired in St. Louis since 1926, but only on weekdays in 1932-1933. The clubs each blame declining attendance figures on radio broadcasts keeping people home.

                  Births on February 3

                  Louis "Lou" Criger is born on February 3, 1872 in Elkhart, Indiana. The famed BR/TR catcher of the great Cy Young and a member of the 1st 1903 World Series Champion Boston American League club is only an active playing Brown by a last gasp game he plays for the St. Louis AL club. Criger's 16-year career mark of a .221 BA and 11 HR's is mainly achieved over the continuous period from 1896 to 1910. Criger returns, however, to go 0 for 2 in one game for the 1912 Browns played on June 3, 1912. - In addition to his reputation as a defensive specialist and the partner of Cy Young, Criger is noted for turning in gamblers who tried to involve him in a scheme for fixing the first World Series. - Lou Criger will pass away in Tucson, Arizona on May 14, 1934 at the age of 62.

                  Sidney "Sid" Schacht is born on February 3, 1918 in Bogota, New Jersey. (I always thought Bogata was in Columbia.) The BR/TR pitcher manages to pitch 16.2 innings for the 1950-1951 Browns without achieving a win or getting a loss, but he does rack up stratospheric ERAs of 16.04 and 21.00 over that same period of "take one for the team" service. Schacht is not involved in a game decision until he moves to the Boston Braves in the latter part of the 1951 season and loses 2 games in only 4.2 innings of work. As a final cap of irony upon his short MLB career, Schacht achieves an ERA of only 1.93 while he's quickly losing 2 in the National League. - Sid Schacht will pass away on March 30, 1991 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida at the age of 73.

                  James Robert "Jim" Dyck

                  Jim Dyck of the Browns (left), sharing space here
                  with 2 other big leaguers, Ed Yost & Willard Marshall.

                  Jim Dyck is born on February 3, 1922 in Omaha, Nebraska. The BR/TR 3rd baseman/outfiielder is a Brown for 3 seasons (1951-1953) in a career that extends through 1956. Dyck joined the Brpwns for 4 games late in 1951 after a fine offensive year with San Antonio in the Texas League. As one who watched Dyck play in the Texas League, I was among those who thought that he was on his way to an outstanding big league career as a hitter. In fact, Dyck led the Texas League in 1927 with 127 RBIs. As it turns out, Dyck will hit .246 with only 114 RBIs over the course of his 983 times AB from 1951 to 1956. - Jim Dyck was a really fine guy who helped me with input to my book, "A Kid From St. Louis," while I was doing research on it in 1995. He was happily retired by that time and having a lot of fun running his own bowling alley in the Pacific Northwest. - Sadly more so because I got to know him ever so slightly, Jim Dyck passed away suddenly on January 11, 1999 in Cheney, Washington at the age of nearly 77. - The lesson comes home again from the life and death of this dear former Brown. - Enjoy life and good friends while you have them because none of us are guaranteed anything beyond the moment we're in right now.

                  Deaths on February 3

                  ... but "A Boy Named Anna" had the same problem!

                  Anna Sebastian "Pete" or "Bash" Compton passes away on February 3, 1978 in Kansas City, Missouri. - What are the odds on a guy named "Anna" surviving childhood, especially in Texas, and then going on to play baseball in the major leagues? (This thought occurs to me. From early on, Compton may have told the other kids: "Yeah, my name's 'Anna', but you'd better damn well call me 'Pete'! Better yet, call me 'Bash' - 'cause that's what I'm gonna do to you if you forget this conversation!")

                  Whatever the case, the BL/TL outfielder did survive childhood and went on to play 6 years in the big leagues from 1911 to 1918, hitting for a career BA of .241 and 5 homers in his total 773 ABs. Compton broke in with the Browns and played his first 3 seasons with the St. Louis AL club. His best and only full year of playing more than 100 games was 1912 when he made the box score 103 times and hit .280. - Pete Compton was born on September 28, 1889 in San Marcos, Texas. For overcoming your parents' poor decision on that baptismal name, and for making it all the way to the Browns, we have to extend a big BCT/GB to Pete Compton. - Congratulations, "Bash"!

                  Walter Irving "Walter" Brown dies on February 3, 1991 in Westfield, New York at the age of 75. The BR/TR pitcher is another of our treasured Brownie short-timers. Heck! Our club had enough cup-of-coffee guys to launch a whole flotilla of Starbucks stores. - Come to think about it, maybe the Browns did give Starbuck's their start. - Walter Brown was 1-0 with a 4.89 ERA in 19 games and 46 innings of relief work for the 1947 Browns and then dropped off the big league radar forever. - Brown was born-to-be-a-Brown (but aren't they all?) on April 23, 1915 in Jamestown. New York. - Here's a great big BCT/GB and a Starbucks styrofoam mug of steaming hot cappucino toast to you, Walter Brown!

                  Hmm! Hmm! Nothing like a good cup of Browns coffee in the morning!

                  Today's Reference Links ...

                  Last edited by Bill_McCurdy; 02-22-2005, 07:28 PM.
                  "Our fans never booed us. - They wouldn't dare. - We outnumbered 'em." ... Browns Pitcher Ned Garver.


                  • February 4th

                    On This Date in History!

                    February 4, 1934: Truth in Advertising.

                    "I used this glove in 1920 as a pitcher
                    for the St. Louis Browns and I made
                    no errors with it!" - Hod Leverette

                    The National Recovery Administration announces today that all athletes advertising athletic goods must actually use them or advertisers will lose the NRA Blue Eagle and be fined.

                    Births on February 4

                    Horace Wilbur "Hod" Leverette is born on February 4, 1889 in Shreveport, Louisiana. From April 22, 1920 to May 8, 1920, the BR/TR pitcher will play in 3 games and work10.1 frames for the Browns, 2 as a starter and 1 in relief. For his efforts, Hod will post a career record of 0 wins, 2 losses, and an ERA of 5.23. Please note the whole truth about Hod's brief, but complete MLB career: Leverette will not make a single error in the field in 7 chances that result in him getting credit for 7 assists. - Flawless-fielding Hod Leverette will pass away on April 10, 1958 in St. Peterburg, Florida at the age of 68. He will go to his grave with the self-affirming knowledge that, over the course of his very short stay in the big leagues, he was perfect in the field. - Must've been the glove.

                    BCT/GB, Hod Leverette!

                    Deaths on February 4

                    Edward Tilden "Ed" Siever dies on February 4, 1920 in Detroit, Michigan at the age of only 43. In spite of his short time on earth, the BL/TL pitcher will register 81 wins, 81 losses, and a fine ERA of 2.60 in 7 seasons as a big leaguer (1901-1908). In his 2 years with the Browns, Siever will go 8-11, 1.91 in 1903 and 13-14, 2.48 in 1904. The rest of Siever's career, before and after the Browns, is spent with the Tigers. - Ed Siever was born on April 2, 1877 in Goddard, Kansas.

                    Frank Talmadge "Dixie" Davis passes away on February 4, 1944 in Raleigh, NC at the age of 53. The BR/TR pitcher was an important member of the great early 1920's Browns clubs. In 7 seasons as a Brown (1920-1926), Dixie won 75 games and lost 68. His best year was 1920, when he won 18, lost 12, and registered a 3.17 ERA. Including 3 prior short and ineffective stays with the 1912 Reds, the 1915 White Sox, and the 1918 Phillies, Davis finished his career as a Brown with an overall record of 75 wins, 71 losses, and an ERA of 3.97. - Davis was an example of what may happen for those with enough talent and heart to not give up. He had three chances to cash it in with other clubs pror to reaching the Browns, but he stayed with it - and is now remembered for his accomplishments as a result. - Dixie Davis was born on October 12, 1890 in Wilsons Mills, NC.

                    Today's Reference Links ...

                    Last edited by Bill_McCurdy; 02-22-2005, 07:28 PM.
                    "Our fans never booed us. - They wouldn't dare. - We outnumbered 'em." ... Browns Pitcher Ned Garver.


                    • February 5th

                      On This Date in History!

                      February 5, 1942: In Trade, Yankees Get Moore; Braves Get More.

                      Tommy Holmes: His Trade to Braves
                      Helped Gene Moore Reach Browns.

                      Even the Yankees make mistakes. They simply aren't as visible when they are sprouting in a field where success grows like healthy stalks of corn all around them. Today, however, one such error comes into view. - The Yankees trade minor league outfielder Tommy Holmes to the Boston Braves for 1st baseman Buddy Hassett and journeyman outfielder Gene Moore. Hassett will hit .284 for the 1942 Yankees and then join the Navy, nevermore returning to the big leagues thereafter. Gene Moore will be dealt to the Washington Senators prior to the start of the 1942 season and eventually wind up playing for the 1944 St. Louis Browns American League champions before finishing his career with the 1945 St. Louis AL club.

                      Tommy Holmes, on the other hand, proves himself to be a great acquisition by the Braves. In the Yankee system, Holmes had been stuck in the International League for three seasons in spite of hitting over .300 each year because of the talent-loaded Yankee club. Now he's getting his chance via this trade. In 10 seasons with the Braves, Tommy Holmes will hit over .300 and win the American League MVP award in 1948.

                      As for Gene Moore, he will hit .238 for the 1944 St. Louis AL champs and he will score the first run that the Browns ever tally in their only World Series.

                      A Browns Whoppee to you, Gene Moore!

                      Births on February 5

                      Jack Maguire is born on February 5, 1925 in St. Louis. Yes, the BR/TR utility position player is named just plain "Jack." In his fast and forgettable big league stint (1950-1951), Maguire will play for 3 clubs and hit .240 in 192 total AB's. The 1951 Browns will use Jack Maguire for 41 games as an outfielder/infielder and he will hit .244 for the season. - Jack Maguire will pass away on September 28, 2001 in Kerrville, Texas at the age of 76. - BCT/GB, Jack Maguire!

                      "Some of my best friends
                      were St. Louis Browns."

                      - Moonlight Graham

                      Deaths on February 5

                      Joseph Shelby "Joe" Crisp passes away on February 5, 1939 on Kansas City, Missouri at the age of 49. - The BR/TR (but neither for long) Crisp is aptly named. In spite of his 6'4" height, be barely casts a shadow upon the big leagues. Crisp appears in only 1 game a year for the 1910 and 1911 Browns, Then he retires and joins the rest of us ordinary people for a life that isn't boxscored - unless you strike it rich or break the law. - Crisp played as a catcher in his 1910 game and was 0 for 1. His pinch hit single in his only 1911 game appearance allows him to retire with a crisp major league BA of .500. - Joe Crisp was born on July 8, 1889 in Higginsville, Missouri. - BCT/GB, Joe Crisp!

                      Fred Calvin "Hack" Spencer dies on February 5, 1969 in St. Anthony, Minnesota at the age of 83. February 5th is shaping up as one of those fairly easy to find "Johnny-One-Note" days in Browns history. - The BR/TR "Hack" of mention here appeared in only one game for the Browns on April 18, 1912, and that was it for this Spencer. Here's the curious thing: Spencer pitched only 1.2 relief innings, giving up 2 unearned runs on 2 hits. So, he finished his MLB career with no times at bat and a pitching ERA of 0.00. Unless Spencer was injured, broke the law, joined the army, or went nuts shortly after his debut, we are left to presume that second chances we're just very hard to come by back in 1912. - Hack Spencer was born on April 25, 1885 in St. Cloud, Minnesota. - Hack didn't hack it for long, but he made it to "The Bigs." - BCT/GB, Hack Spencer!

                      Today's Reference Links ...

                      Last edited by Bill_McCurdy; 02-22-2005, 07:26 PM.
                      "Our fans never booed us. - They wouldn't dare. - We outnumbered 'em." ... Browns Pitcher Ned Garver.


                      • February 6th

                        On This Date in History!

                        February 6, 1926: Browns Get Schang from Yankees!

                        Wally Schang had a bat with some bang.

                        The St. Louis Browns acquire 37-year old catcher Wally Schang from the New York Yankees for pitcher George Mogridge and an undisclosed amount of cash. Schang will work for the Browns for four seasons (1926-1929), catching 91+ games each year and hitting .330, .319, .286, and .237 as a Brown. On May 15, 1927, Schang will have his finest offensive day as a Brown in a game against his original club, the Philadelphia A's. Wally Schang is 3-for-3 that day, with a grand slam homer, to lead the Browns to an 8–6 win over the A's. - Thanks for the offensive bang, Schang! - The Browns pitching staff seldom got that kind of batting help from their batterymates.

                        Births on February 6

                        Frank Breyfogle "Pot" LaPorte is born on February 6, 1880 in Uhrichsville, Ohio. The BR/TR utility guy has a fine BA of .281 over the 11 big league seasons he plays from 1905 to 1915. As a Brown for two seasons (1911-1912), LaPorte gives a good accounting of himself, hitting .314 and .312 as an infielder/outfielder. - Not sure about the origins of that "Pot" nickname. If we could find a full-body photo of LaPorte, we might be able to rule in or out one obvious possibility. - "Pot" LaPorte will boil away from the heat of this world in Newcomerstown, Ohio on September 25, 1939 at the age of 59.

                        Dale Long's Best Years Ahead As a Pirate and Cub.

                        Richard Dale "Dale" Long is born on February 6, 1926 in Springfield, Missouri. The great BL/TL 1st base phenom (who never quite delivers on the great promise of his early press clippings) will play a short time for the 1951 Browns, hitting .238 in 105 AB's. For his career, 1951 to 1963, Dale Long will bang out 132 homers and bat a respectable .267. - Dale Long will pass away on January 27, 1991 in Palm Coast, Florida, just a couple of weeks shy of his 65th birthday.

                        Deaths on February 6

                        Bob Muncrief Was a Browns Winner!

                        Robert Cleveland "Bob" Muncrief passes away only a week short of his 80th birthday on February 6, 1996 in Duncanville, Texas. The BR/TR pitcher was a four-time 13-game winner for the Browns (1937-1947) and a major reason for their successful pursuit of that one and only AL pennant in 1944. Muncrief won 13, lost 8, and posted a 3.08 ERA in 1944. He went 0-1 with a 1.35 ERA in 6.2 innings of work in the 1944 World Series - and he came back in 1945 to post his best season record (13-4. 2.72 ERA). For his total career (1937-1951), Muncrief totalled out with an overall record in the big leagues of 80 wins, 82 losses, and an ERA of 3.80. Muncrief also had the chance to taste victory as a member of 1948 champion Cleveland Indians. He had a 5-4. 3.98 ERA season record with the 1948 Indians and also worked a couple of scoreless innings in the '48 World Series. - Bob Muncrief was born on January 28, 1916 in Madill, Oklahoma. - As we posted on his birthdate, we'll write it again here: Muncrief was a good one. - Thank you, Bob Muncrief, for helping to bring our Browns their only pennant back in 1944. Sixty years have passed, but we still remember.

                        Today's Reference Links ...

                        Last edited by Bill_McCurdy; 02-22-2005, 07:26 PM.
                        "Our fans never booed us. - They wouldn't dare. - We outnumbered 'em." ... Browns Pitcher Ned Garver.


                        • February 7th

                          On This Date in History!

                          February 7, 1908: Frustrated Mack Sells Rube to Browns!

                          Rube Waddell: Even Mack ran out of
                          patience with his "eccentric" ways.

                          Exasperated Connie Mack sells his talented but eccentric, unreliable and otherwise obsessive/compulsive, alcohol abusive hurler Rube Waddell to the St. Louis Browns for $5,000. - All this doesn't mean that Rube was a bad guy. Waddell was capable of equally great heroic and painful acts toward his fellow human beings and - he had a big thing about fires. Ironically, Rube's trade comes on the third anniversary of his quick action in the face of fire that saved property and possibly lives. - On February 7, 1905 in Lynn, Massachusetts, Rube Waddell prevented a fire by carrying a burning stove out of a store and throwing it into a snow bank. Three days later, he will flee nearby Peabody, Massachusetts to escape charges of assaulting and injuring his wife's parents. - Go figure. - Nobody ever quite figured out the whole personal side of the great Hall of Fame lefty, Rube Waddell. Today's trade was not a solution for anyone, but Connie Mack. The problems which came in the same human package as his productivity simply transferred from the Philadelphia Athletics to the St. Louis Browns. - The Browns are compensated for the "inconvenience" of putting up with the wackiness of Waddell when he goes 19-14 with a 1.89 ERA for their 1908 club. In his last 3 years in the big leagues as a Brown (1908-1910), Rube Waddell will win 33 games and lose 29. He will finish his major league career (1897-1910) with a remarkable record of 193 wins, 143 losses, and an ERA of only 2.16. Rube will also register 2,316 career strikeouts along the way and he will be voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1946. - Greatness does not usually come to us in baseball in perfect human packages. Ask Connie Mack and the St. Louis Browns. :atthepc

                          Births on February 7

                          William Dunn "Bill" Dalrymple is born on February 7, 1891 in Baltimore, MD. Bill is around so briefly that even certain basic facts about him are lost. Dalrymple's career will last for 16 days (July 6-22, 1915). Bill will go 0 for 2 in three games he plays for the 1915 Browns. He will play in the field only once as a 3rd baseman, and he will be credited with only 1 assist. That effort, of course, will be enough to give Dalrymple a career fielding mark of 1.000 to compliment his total BA of .000. The biggest forgotten fact? No one today recalls whether he swung from the right or left side of the plate. When you only hit twice, and fail to connect either time, people's memories are more prone to go blank quickly. - Bill Dalrymple will pass away in San Diego, California on July 14, 1967 at the age of 76. It's a darn good thing that death records, unlike batting preferences, are a required documentation. - BCT/GB, Bill Dalrymple!

                          "Mel" Almada, the only Mexican player in the big leagues today, started his baseball career with the Seattle Club, of the Pacific Coast League, in 1932. In 1933 he played with the Boston Red Sox in 14 games, getting a batting average of .341. He was farmed out to Kansas City the following year, batted .328, and was recalled by Boston toward the end of the season. "Mel" Almada played with Boston until 1937, when he was traded to Washington along with the Ferrell brothers, for Ben Chapman, and Buck Newsom. On June 15th, 1938, Washington traded him to the St. Louis Browns for Sam West. (excerpted from the back of the above 1939 baseball card) -
                          Baldomero Almada "Melo" "Mel Almada" Quiros By whichever long or short version of his name you choose to call him, Mel Almada is born on February 7, 1913 in Huatabampo, Mexico. (The data from the above quote also lists Almada's birthdate from his baseball card as February 17, 1915. That date most likely was the result of the common practice of taking two years off one's age that many players did back in those days.) The BL/TL outfielder will hit a respectable .284 over the time of his 7-year big league career (1932-1939). As a member of the 1938-1939 Browns, Almada will enjoy his best season ever when he collects 149 hits in 436 official AB's for a .342 BA in 1938 as a Brown after his trade over to St. Louis from Washington. His Brownie success is fleeting. When Almada gets off to a slow start at the plate in 1939 (.239 in 42 games), the Browns move him to the Brooklyn Dodgers where he goes .214 in 39 games as the last candle snuff on his career. - Mel Almada will die on August 13, 1988 in Caborca, Mexico at the age of 75.

                          Deaths on February 7

                          Jim Walkup: As a Young Fella from Arkansas.

                          James Elton "Jim" Walkup dies on February 7. 1997 in Danville, Arkansas at the age of 87. The University of Arkansas player was a BR/TR pitcher who had a career record of 16 wins, 38 losses, and a 6.74 ERA from 1934 to 1939. All but one loss and 12 innings were registered as a Brown. The club dealt him off to Detroit during the 1939 season for the inglorious end of his career. - Jim Walkup was born on December 14, 1909 in Havana, Arkansas. (I thought Havana was in Cuba. - Wonder how good those Arkansas stogies could have been.)

                          Todays Reference Links ...

                          Last edited by Bill_McCurdy; 02-22-2005, 07:25 PM.
                          "Our fans never booed us. - They wouldn't dare. - We outnumbered 'em." ... Browns Pitcher Ned Garver.


                          • February 8th

                            On This Date in History!

                            February 8, 1942: Not-So-Stuck in Folsom Prison.

                            "I hear those Browns a comin',
                            They're comin' 'round the bend,
                            And they ain't seen the sunshine,
                            Since - I don't know when. ...."

                            (sung to the tune of "Folsom Prison Blues")

                            After another dreary-enough 2nd Division finish in 1941, no members of the St. Louis Browns volunteer to play in today's annual "Pros v. Cons" Baseball Game at Folsom Prison in California. As a result, Brownie players, by default, are introduced to yet another way of missing out on all the fun. - The annual game between major leaguers and the Folsom Prison team starts OK, but is stopped when it's discovered that two prisoners have escaped during all of the excitement. With the Pros leading the Cons, 24-5, at the end of seven innings, the game is ended so that prison guards may go after the two lifers who escaped. Three hours later, the two escapees are captured and returned to Folsom Prison. There is no truth to the rumor that the warden used a speaker mike to obtain a voluntary surrender of the two desperate cons with a threat to have their baseball playing rights assigned to the Browns - in the event they were successful in eluding capture. - Oh yeah, the major leaguers who actually did play in this game included Ernie Lombardi, Ernie Bonham, Gus Suhr, Joe Marty, and Johnny Babich.

                            February 8, 1940: Browns Acquire Eldon Auker.

                            The St. Louis Browns make one of their best acquisitions of all time when they purchase righthanded submarine star Eldon Auker from the Boston Red Sox. Auker will become the ace of the staff, winning 44 games over the next three seasons (1940-1942). At age 94 years, 5 months in February 2005, Eldon Auker is the 2nd oldest living former member of the St. Louis Browns.

                            Births on February 8

                            Donald Henry "Don" Heffner is born on February 8, 1911 in Rouzerville, Pennsylvania. The BR/TR infielder is primarily a 2nd baseman who will post a career big league BA of .241 from 1934 to 1944. As a Brown (1938-1943), the fiesty little guy they will nickname "Jeep" will have his best year in St. Louis when he hits .267 in 110 games during the team-awful 1939 season. Heffner will have virtually no long distance power, hitting only 6 HR's in 2,526 career MLB times at bat. - Don Heffner will pass away on August 1, 1989 in Pasadena, California at the age of 78.

                            Outfielder Joe Gallagher (shown above) was a
                            teammate of Don Heffner on the 1939 Browns club
                            that finished last with a record of 43 wins and 111 losses.
                            The thought behind the look: "Same ****, Different Day."

                            Deaths on February 8

                            Harry Terrell "Harry" Ables passes away on February 8, 1951 at the age of 66. The BR/TL hurler that they also called "Hans" broke into the big leagues by going 0 and 3 for the 1905 Browns in 6 games. He had two other brief cracks with the 1909 Cleveland Naps and the 1911 New York Highlanders, finishing with a career MLB mark of 1 win, 5 losses, and a 4.04 ERA. - Ables was born in Terrell, Texas on October 4, 1884. - He did play college ball at Southwestern University prior to his 71.1 innings pitched in the big time. - BCT/GB, "Hans" Ables!

                            Eugene Edward "Gene" Paulette passes away on February 8, 1966 in Little Rock Arkansas at the age of 74. The BR/TR infielder had cups-of-coffee with the Browns in 1916 and 1917. Over the course of his 6-year big league career (1911, 1916-1920), Paulette hit .269 with 2 homers in 500 games. Paulette's career is ended by new Baseball Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis on March 21, 1921. On that date, Landis barred Paulette from organized baseball for life for taking part in throwing games. Paulette played his last big league game for the Phillies on October 3, 1920. Because of his lifetime ban, obviously, Paulette was gone-for-good after the 1920 season. - Gene Paulette was born on May 26, 1891 in Centralia, Illinois.

                            Harold "Hal" Charles Warnock dies on February 8, 1997 in Tucson, Arizona at the age of 85. The former BL/TR outfielder went 2 for 7 (.286) as a September call-up for the 1935 Browns and was never seen again in big league playing circles. In small consolation, Warnock left the game knowing that all of his major league hits (both of them) were doubles! - Hal Warnock was born in New York City on January 6, 1912. - BCT/GB, Hal Warnock! :atthepc

                            Today's Reference Links ...

                            Last edited by Bill_McCurdy; 08-01-2005, 05:01 AM.
                            "Our fans never booed us. - They wouldn't dare. - We outnumbered 'em." ... Browns Pitcher Ned Garver.


                            • February 9th

                              On This Date in History!

                              February 9, 1951: Browns Sign Satchel Paige!

                              Satchel Paige: "Never look back.
                              Something might be gaining on you."

                              Today is a big day in the history of our storied franchise. Today is the day that the St. Louis Browns sign Satchel Paige, allegedly only 45, to a contract that will forever make one of the greatest and most legendary pitchers of all time a big part of club history. Paige had been out of big league baseball since last pitching for the Cleveland Indians in 1949.

                              Most of you know the story of Paige. The color line kept him from playing in the major leagues during his prime, but he still arrives in 1948 in time to win 6 of 7 decisions, helping the Cleveland Indians win the pennant and World Series. Even the aging great one cannot work that kind of magic for the Browns in 1951, but those Browns who do have the honor of playing with Paige for three years (1951-1953) are all grateful they had the opportunity. At least, I've never talked with any of them who told me otherwise. It seems that just being around Satchel Paige on a regular basis must have been a double lesson on baseball - and life. Of all the deceased Browns that I never had a chance to meet, there are two men that I wish I could've spent some time getting to know. - One, of course, is George Sisler. The other is the man who left us with these other memorable quotes:

                              "Age is a question of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter."

                              "Ain’t no man can avoid being born average, but there ain’t no man got to be common."

                              "I never threw an illegal pitch. The trouble is, once in a while I would toss one that ain’t never been seen by this generation."

                              "Just take the ball and throw it where you want to. Throw strikes. Home plate don’t move."

                              "They said I was the greatest pitcher they ever saw…I couldn’t understand why they couldn’t give me no justice."

                              "Don't look back. Something might be gaining on you."

                              "Don't pray when it rains if you don't pray when the sun shines."

                              "How old would you be if you didn't know how old you are?"

                              "Money and women. They're two of the strongest things in the world. The things you do for a woman you wouldn't do for anything else. Same with money."

                              "Work like you don't need the money. Love like you've never been hurt. Dance like nobody's watching."

                              "You win a few, you lose a few. Some get rained out. But you got to dress for all of them."

                              "My pitching philosophy is simple; you gotta keep the ball off the fat part of the bat."

                              "I never had a job. I always played baseball."

                              "Mother always told me, if you tell a lie, always rehearse it. If it don't sound good to you, it won't sound good to no one else."

                              If you want to read more about Satchel Paige, here's a good starting link to his official website. If you type "Satchel Paige" into any search engine, you will also find plenty of reading to keep you busy. ...

                              Births on February 9

                              Adrian Ryan "Adrian" Lynch is born on February 9, 1897 in Laurens, Iowa. Lynch (BB/TR) will go on to pitch for Notre Dame University before he enjoys his brief moment in the sun in the big leagues by posting a 2 win, 0 loss, 5.24 ERA record for the 1920 Browns in 5 games and 22.1 innings of work. Of his 5 games, Lynch will start 3. He will not play in the big leagues again beyond 1920, but the ND man will "shake down the thunder" briefly while he has the chance. - Adrian Lynch will pass away on March 16, 1934 in Davenport, Iowa at the early age of only 37. - BCT/GB, Adrian Lynch of The Fighting Irish!

                              Roy Mahaffey: Popeye couldn't
                              find his spinach as a '36 Brown.

                              (Mahaffey sort of resembles today's
                              Tom Glavine, doesn't he?)

                              Lee Roy "Roy" Mahaffey is born on February 9, 1903 in Belton, South Carolina. Nicknamed "Popeye", the BR/TR pitcher will play 9 years in the big leagues (1926-1936), finishing with a career record of 67 wins, 49 losses, and an ERA of 5.01. The Browns will pick up Mahaffey on waivers from the Athletics on January 29, 1936. In his final season, and his only year as a Brown, Mahaffey is 2-6, 8.10 for the 1936 club. He doesn't finish the year. The Browns release Mahaffey on July 28, 1936. - Art Mahaffey will die on January 23, 1969 in Anderson, South Carolina at the age of nearly 66.

                              Victor Woodrow "Vic" Wertz is born on February 9, 1925 in York, PA. The BL/TR 1st baseman/outfielder will play 17 years in the big leagues (1947-1963) and bat .277 with 266 homers over the course of his career. Wertz will be best remembered for his long drive to center field in the Polo Grounds in the 1954 World Series - the one that will immortalize Giants center fielder Willie Mays for "The Catch." - Before that big moment, Wertz will join the Browns on August 14, 1952 in a multi-player trade between the Tigers and St. Louis that also sends pitcher Ned Garver to Detroit. Wertz will hit 6 homers and bat .346 for the balance of the 1952 season as a Brown. He will return for the last Browns season of 1953 and hit .268 with 19 homers. When the franchise shifts to Baltimore in 1954, Wertz will be among the original Orioles before he is traded to the Indians early in the season and launched upon the road to his ignominious date with destiny in the 1954 World Series. - Vic Wertz will leave this flawed-but-only-one-we-got world on July 7, 1983 in Detroit at the age of 58. - God bless you, Vic Wertz. Your power as a man and a player came not from steroids!

                              Deaths on February 9

                              Death takes a holiday in Brownsville.

                              Today's Reference Links ...

                              Last edited by Bill_McCurdy; 07-23-2005, 05:34 AM.
                              "Our fans never booed us. - They wouldn't dare. - We outnumbered 'em." ... Browns Pitcher Ned Garver.


                              • February 10th

                                On This Date in History!

                                February 10, 1953: Former Brown Stephens Goes From BoSox to ChiSox.

                                Vern Stephens: Trade to White Sox today
                                is only a stop on the career down elevator ride.

                                The Chicago White Sox today send pitchers Marv Grissom, Bill Kennedy and Hal Brown to the Boston Red Sox for 33-year-old infielder and former St. Louis Browns slugging shortstop Vern Stephens. Stephens was a frequently picked All Star during the 1940's, with his powerful bat overcoming his limited range as the American League shortstop pick. Sadly, Stephens is pretty much washed up at this point in his career. The most powerful hitting shortstop til Ernie Banks comes along will be unable hit a two-dollar bill for the 1953 White Sox and be on his way back to the Browns before the end of the year.

                                February 10, 1923: Future Browns Manager Traded.

                                Catcher Muddy Ruel and pitcher Allen Russell are traded today by the Boston Red Sox to the Washington Nationals for catcher Val Picinich and outfielders Howard Shanks and Ed Goebel. Ruel broke into the majors in 10 games as a Brown in 1915 and he returned to play for them again in 28 games in 1933. In 19 years a major leaguer (1915-1934), Ruel batted a healthy .275, but he hit only 4 HR's in 4,514 official times AB. Ruel will later "lead" the 1947 Browns to a 59-95 last place finish in his only season as a big league manager.

                                Births on February 10

                                William Carl "Bill" Whaley is born on February 10, 1899 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The BR/TR outfielder is another dim-spark-in-the-dark contributor to Browns history. In his only season as a big leaguer, Bill Whaley goes 12 for 50 (.240) with 2 doubles and 1 triple for the 1923 Browns and is then never heard from again. - Whaley will die on March 3, 1943 in Indianapolis at the age of 44. - BCT/GB, Bill Whaley!

                                Deaths on February 10

                                "Don't blame me.
                                I ain't Bunny Brief."

                                Anthony John "Bunny Brief" Grzeszkowski hopped off Pasture Earth on February 10, 1963 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin at the age of 70. Given the name "Bunny Brief" because of his hard-to-say, box-score-unfriendly legal surname, the BR/TR 1st baseman and outfielder breaks into the big leagues with a few games for the 1912 & 1913 Browns. He follows his mediocre stint with the Browns by flirting with the Mendoza Line as a member of the 1915 White Sox and 1917 Pirates. In 569 total AB's, Brief finishes with a .223 BA and 5 career HR's. Based on his output, we may only conclude that Brief's career could've been briefer - and that Bunny was a long hop from ever catching the eyes and ears of Cooperstown. - Bunny Brief was born on July 3, 1892 in Remus, Michigan. - BCT/GB, Bunny Brief!

                                Today's Reference Links ...

                                Last edited by Bill_McCurdy; 02-22-2005, 07:20 PM.
                                "Our fans never booed us. - They wouldn't dare. - We outnumbered 'em." ... Browns Pitcher Ned Garver.


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